Gale Acuff

Sometimes when you’re dead you’re not so happy

says my Sunday School teacher to us ten
-year-olds but we don’t don’t laugh because she means
it well, she just gets a little nervous,
so would I if I had to talk about
God and Jesus and the Holy Ghost each
week as if I knew what the Hell I was
talking about, really know that is–I
think I’d know if I could work some
miracle like Jesus did or she swears
He did (the Bible swears it, too), it would
be good teacher-training if she could walk
on water and after class I’m damned if
I didn’t tell her so but she smiled and
said Just walking is a miracle. Hark.


I love everybody because if I

don’t I’ll go to Hell when I die says my
Sunday School teacher and she should know, she’s
Preacher’s wife and a damn good one to hear
him talk and someday I’ll be married, too,
and though I’m only ten years old now still
it’s probably never too early to
begin hunting around to make her
and love right because divorce is a sin
and you go to Hell for it if you die
without asking Jesus to forgive you,
me, I’m always begging His forgiveness,
for only 10 I sin a heap–today
it was getting caught cheating on a quiz
at school. Well, not just getting caught, I mean.


When you die you’re taken care of for life

is what I get from church and Sunday School
even if you die a sinner though all
people do but it helps a soul heinous
enough to deserve Hell that being dead
offers more security than living
can but I try and try to be good so
I’ll go into the Afterlife with high
expectations of Heaven, ha ha–I
just made that up, you can laugh with God but
not at Him unless maybe you go to
Hell, where anything’s possible, you can
really retire for good if you land there.
instead of On High, where eternally
you praise God. But I just want to kick back.


Nobody loves me so there’s Jesus and

God, that’s why dead people created ’em
so I’d have somebody to love me–that’s
what I told my Sunday School teacher in
our classroom alone when the other kids
had gone home, and she started to cry so
my scheme worked, she took me on her lap and
I’m small for ten years old and she rocked me
back and forth and up and down and I kissed
the tears from her closed eyes, which caused her to
open them so her eyeballs got born a
-gain and she blinked and I wanted to spank
her to start her breathing or keep her at
it but instead I slipped from her thighs, half
accidentally, half on purpose. Love.


I’ll go to Hell someday for my sins and

never see Heaven, I fear, or get a
glimpse and that’s all but that will be plenty
Hell enough right there but my punishment
will get worse and last for Eternity
which means for all time and then-some, how that
can be who knows but God and Jesus and
Satan, he’ll be the one to see to me
forever-plus so maybe we can make
friends but when he’s unaware I’ll take his
place and the demons and poor human souls
suffering below will be free but we’ll
be nicer to him than God and Jesus
were or he himself–we’ll set him free, not
that he’ll find freedom. But neither has God.


One day you die and there you are still, where

-ever you are now, then that is, one day
I’ll find out for myself and when I die
of course I’ll want to resurrect to tell
everybody still alive about it,
the Afterlife I guess I mean but then
nobody’s done it yet–well, there’s Jesus
but He’s a body of stories, then a
-gain so are we all, who really knows but 
God Almighty, if He exists, and if
not that’s fine but if He does I wish to 
Hell He’d show Himself instead of hiding,
if He’s hiding, if He does exist, if
anything can truly be hidden and
not just simply, ordinarily, lost.

© Gale Acuff

Gale Acuff has had poetry published in Loch Raven Review, Ascent, Reed, Journal of Black Mountain College Studies, The Font, Chiron Review, Poem, Adirondack Review, Florida Review, Slant, Arkansas Review, South Dakota Review, Roanoke Review, and many other journals in a dozen countries. He has authored three books of poetry: Buffalo Nickel, The Weight of the World, and The Story of My Lives.

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